The U.S. government’s “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific recognizes that our future prosperity and security are inextricably tied to the region. Over the past three decades, the region has experienced an unprecedented period of prosperity, propelling hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty. A growing middle class has expanded trade opportunities and driven reciprocal growth in countries around the world, including the United States.
As Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt testified before you last week, USAID’s mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID assistance has helped expand financing for small businesses and supported macroeconomic policies to help reduce inequities and create opportunities through improved access to quality health and education services. Several countries in the region are now donors in their own right.
For more than two decades, USAID has partnered with the Government of Nepal to strengthen its governance system, especially its disaster management and emergency response capabilities. While the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks caused significant damage to the country, preparedness measures put in place prior to the earthquake—such as the pre-positioning of supplies and training on earthquake-resistant construction—helped to save lives and mitigate damage. To date, the U.S. Government has provided nearly $47 million in humanitarian assistance to earthquake-affected populations. We know that our investments before the crisis and after will be critical to ensuring that Nepal can overcome this latest tragedy and build a democratic, resilient future.
Thank you for the invitation to testify today. I am grateful for the Committee’s interest in Central America and I am pleased to have this opportunity to update you on our interagency strategy to address the root causes of the migration crisis in Central America.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
USAID’s longstanding role in the Balkans and across Europe and Eurasia is to work with host countries and international partners to build the institutions of government, the economic systems, and the free civil societies that lead to democracy and prosperity. Our job is to help build the foundations of “a Europe Whole, Free, and at Peace.”
Over the past two decades, USAID’s programs in the Balkans have been designed to accelerate democratic progress and European integration. Today we partner with governments, civil society and other donors in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, and Macedonia to strengthen democracies and the rule of law, confront endemic corruption, and expand civil society and a free press.
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $845.6 million in foreign assistance for the East Asia-Pacific represents an 8 percent increase over FY 2014, laying a foundation for long-term strengthening of our relationships with the people of the region.
It is an exciting and pivotal time for U.S. policy in the region. More people live in Asia than anywhere else on the planet. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of extreme poverty over the past few decades, contributing to economic growth, regional stability and a growing middle class. In the next decade, trade volume in Asia is expected to double, and by 2050, Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to account for more than half of the world’s GDP.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Today, there are still more than one billion people globally who suffer from one or more Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). These diseases disproportionately impact poor and rural populations, who often lack access to safe water, sanitation and essential medicines – the very people who make up those in extreme poverty. NTDs take a very heavy human toll by creating sickness, disability, blindness and severe disfigurement; contributing to childhood malnutrition; compromising the mental and physical development of children; and leading to an appreciable loss of productivity. While NTDs do not usually result in death, they clearly devastate individuals, families and the future of children.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
USAID is the largest provider of food assistance in the world and we are seeking to maintain our leadership role – to be the best at what we do – by evolving our programs with the times. So today I would like to share with you the evolution of food aid and how evidenced-based learning can improve our programs. I also want to highlight how we are currently using the flexibility provided through the International Disaster Assistance account and how the critical reforms in the 2014 Farm Bill are enabling USAID to reach more people quickly and cost-effectively. These reforms serve as the basis for USAID to continue to pursue additional flexibility in food crises to use the right tool at the right time.
USAID’s mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In Central America, USAID assistance has been an important part of this effort. For example, past programming has expanded financing for small businesses and supported macroeconomic policies to reduce inequities and improve access to quality health and education. We have seen political, social, and economic advances in countries like Costa Rica and Panama. However, in recent years, social development and economic growth in Central America have been stymied by a dramatic rise in crime and violence—particularly in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This insecurity is rooted in deep-seated issues of social and economic inequity, weak institutions of criminal justice, the failure of the region’s governments and private sector to expand economic opportunity for vast segments of the population, and increases in gang violence and international crime. As these long-standing challenges in Central America worsened, we saw the consequences manifest at our border last year when more than fifty thousand unaccompanied children left their homes in Central America to make the dangerous journey to the United States.
President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $383.4 million for South Asia reflects our sustained commitment to the region through a steady level of funding over the past few fiscal years. In more than 100 countries around the world, including 32 in Asia, U.S. development assistance plays a vital role in building the foundations for lasting economic prosperity, fostering democratic values and combatting the causes of instability that pose threats not only in far-off places, but also here on our own shores — threats such as profound human suffering, more frequent and intense storms that erase gains and set back whole societies, and weak systems of governance that continually fail to meet the needs of the people. USAID is expanding stable, free societies that provide lasting alternatives to otherwise destabilizing forces, while also creating markets and trade partners for the United States and fostering goodwill abroad — all with less than 1 percent of the total federal budget.
Last updated: June 17, 2015